This just in! Bad news can in fact be good news!
Okay, not entirely but the fact is there’s plenty of unexpected problems that arise in IT. This can be bad for PR and bad for B2B marketing. However, if you know how to deliver the bad news well, you can at least avoid hysteria, paranoia, and tech rage.
No Better Time than Now
In all honesty, the best time to bring in bad news is as soon as possible. Although, you still need to be careful when doing so. You need to show professionalism while understanding what the news means to them. Show how apologetic you are and share your concerns. Avoid any methods of communication that could induce panic.
Keep in mind the best times in a day to call or email. Don’t rush in or interrupt your prospects or customers when they are in the middle of something (especially when they are in a bad mood).
Honesty is the Best Policy
Be honest about the unfortunate news. Don’t hold out any details and be careful in choosing your words to avoid further misunderstanding. And while you’re at it, be honest with what you don’t know as much as what you do know. This will at least open up more dialogue and hopefully, you can cooperate with your customers on the solution.
Don’t be Defensive
Avoid pointing fingers because most often, it’s a case of many parties being at fault (not just one). Avoid lame excuses (especially when you’re already panicking). It just makes you look unprofessional and everyone else more insecure.
Calmly state the situation that they’re in (whether you’re sending in a mass email or having people personally make the calls). Present options that can help them out of the situation instead of pointlessly making the case that you (or anyone else) is without fault.
Say What You Need to Say
Don’t beat around the bush but don’t be mechanical either. Your prospects and customers don’t want to hear the unfeeling computer voice when they get bad news. Say that there’s a problem and that you’re taking the responsibility of fixing it. No sugarcoating. No self pity either.
The way you communicate reflects the skill and integrity of your business. So even in the midst of, say, a server crash or a sudden change of appointment, how you communicate keeps emotions from running high.